Did you know that Valentine’s Day translates to “the Day of Friendships” in Finland? For me it never meant a day to go on a date, or to buy a present for a boyfriend, but a day to remind friends, how important they are by baking them brownies, or sending them a nice message. So here’s a little delayed Valentine’s Day shoutout to my friends!
As I’m a bit of an introvert, I don’t have a huge circle of friends nor a busy calendar to meet up with everyone. I don’t go and make new friends with a snap of my fingers, and I hold back quite a while before getting close with people. But the few friends I have I am very thankful for.
There are few friendships that held together regardless the distance. When I moved to Malta, Copenhagen, or to Germany I always had a phone number I knew I could text to when I felt utterly lost and alone, or was unsure about my decisions. When I felt like nobody understood me and I understood nobody. Those friends made me feel safe no matter where I was. With one particularly we still meet up on a regular basis, even though we have around 2300km between us. She’s the only one who’s been visiting me wherever I chose to live, and vice versa. Long distance relationships require a lot of effort, and it’s amazing that there are people around me that still see it’s all worth it.
As the moving around made some of the friendships slowly fade away, it also generated new ones. When I moved to Copenhagen few years ago, I was in a very bad place. I didn’t have a permanent place to stay, my boyfriend lived thousand kilometers away and I struggled with my studies. My new friends there helped me to keep my head above the surface, when I was ready to give up.
After over three years living in Copenhagen, my departure to Germany finally arrived. The goodbyes were bittersweet. I left behind some good friends, amazing city and a job and colleagues I still miss very much. On the other hand I was excited I was finally moving in together with my boyfriend with whom we had struggled in a long distance relationship for a long time, on the other it hurt to leave a lot of good things behind. Luckily my former home is not too far away, and I’m actually heading there again in March – yay!
The first times I visited Germany, my German was really bad – nonexistent actually. When we met with the friends of my boyfriend, at first everyone was too shy to speak English with me. I felt such an outsider in the beginning, and thought I would never fit it. I even started to get unsure about the idea of even moving there, since everything was going nicely in Copenhagen. Then after few times of meeting up all of a sudden everyone spoke English just because of me. I mean, there were times when ten people sat around a table and every single person there spoke English just so that I would understand and could take part in the conversation! It was so amazing, that even after becoming fluent in German, I will never forget that.
I have been in Stuttgart now for only three years and haven’t been growing my social circles very actively. Yet I have a couple of friends here that make me feel home. Because of the language struggles it was in deed a challenge to fit in, and I thought to myself, who would want to make friends with someone unable to speak the language. Eventually things turned out okay, and I learnt you can feel home anywhere, where you’re surrounded with the right people. I have been lucky enough to have that chance wherever I went.
There are friends who left an impact. There are friends who know everything about you. There are friends you’d do anything for when they need you. There are friends with whom you don’t keep in touch yet you know they’re there. There are friends that you were once close with. With some the journey is shorter, with some longer – I’m grateful for all of them.
Cheers to you, friend!